Quick and easy vegetarian recipe for Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice and chickpea dish infused with Indian spices – vegan adaptable and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal. 

 Vegetarian Biryani recipe in a pot

The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.~ Brene Brown

This recipe for Biryani requires only 15 minutes of hands-on-time before it gently simmers on the stovetop, relatively hands-free. Biryani, if unfamiliar, is an Indian staple, made with rice that varies greatly from region to region, often made with chicken.  Here is another authentic recipe for Chicken Biryani, if you’d like to go that route.

This version is totally meatless, made with veggies and chickpeas- and can be made very quickly using white basmati rice.  As it simmers, fragrant Indian spices infuse the house with goodness.  Serve this with flavorful Cilantro Mint Chutney which is vegan adaptable!

How to Make Vegetarian Biryani! | 30-second video!

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice dish infused with Indian spices - vegan adaptable and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal. | www.feastingathome.com #biryani #vegandinner #veganrecipe #vegetablebiryani #veganbiryani

Biryani starts with browning the onions, creating the base of the flavorful dish.

The best way cook biryani is to cover the simmering rice with a thin kitchen towel, folding the edges up over the lid. This helps create a good seal and allowing the rice to cook more evenly.

When it’s done, the rice with be perfectly cooked and fluffy.

Sprinkle with toasted cashews, raisins and cilantro.

Serve with a side of cilantro mint chutney!

Vegetarian Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice dish infused with Indian spices - vegan adaptable and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal. | www.feastingathome.com #biryani #vegandinner #veganrecipe #vegetablebiryani #veganbiryani

Vegetarian Biryani- so simple yet full of great flavor!

 Vegetarian Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice dish infused with Indian spices - vegan adaptable and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal. | www.feastingathome.com #biryani #vegandinner #veganrecipe #vegetablebiryani #veganbiryani

If you are looking for a more traditional Indian-style biryani recipe, like I mentioned before, make sure to try this Chicken Biryani recipe -it’s really delicious! It’s perfect for a Sunday when you have time to be in the kitchen for a couple of hours.

What to serve with Biryani? 

  1. Naan Bread
  2. Palak Paneer
  3. Indian Spinach Salad with Lentils & 038; Cauliflower
  4. Bombay Carrot Salad
  5. Raita!
  6. Mint Chutney 
  7. Aloo Gobi 
  8. Authentic Chai!
  9. Chai Cookies! 


Hope you enjoy!

RELATED: 20 Vegetarian Recipes ( for fall)! 

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Vegetarian Biryani Recipe

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Biryani Recipe

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine| Feasting at Home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: vegan, vegetarian, main
  • Method: Stove-top
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Diet: Vegan


Quick and Easy Vegetarian Biryani! A fragrant Indian rice dish infused with Indian spices – vegan adaptable and gluten-free. A quick and easy weeknight meal. |  Serve it with Cilantro Mint Chutney.


  • 2 cups white basmati rice (see notes for brown basmati)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or sub ghee or coconut oil)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup diced carrot ( or use match sticks)
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or use ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon cumin ( or whole seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon coriander (or whole seeds, cracked open)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or one cinnamon stick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (or 3 crushed cardamom pods)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 star anise pod (optional)
  • 4 cups veggie stock ( or chicken stock)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • Garnish: 1/4 cup cashews and chopped parsley or cilantro

Serve with Cilantro Mint Chutney  (vegan adaptable!) 


Soak rice in a bowl of hot water while you prep ingredients.

In a large skillet, or shallow  Dutch oven, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté, stirring often, until tender and golden, 5 minutes. Turn heat to medium, add the veggies, garlic and ginger, and saute 4-5 minutes. Remove one cup of the mixture and set aside.

Add spices and bay leaf, and stir one minute, toasting the spices. Drain the rice and add it along with veggie stock and salt.

Top with chickpeas, raisins and the cup of veggies you set aside. Bring to a simmer over high heat, then lower heat to low. Cover the pot with a thin dish towel, then place the lid over the top of the towel, and bring the four corners of the towel up and over the lid.  This will tighten the seal and keep the steam in, allowing the rice to cook more quickly and evenly.

Simmer on low 20-30 minutes or until the rice has soaked up the liquid. See notes.

While it is simmering make the Cilantro Mint Chutney

Uncover the Vegetarian Biryani and fluff up with a fork. Top with the toasted cashew and cilantro.  Serve with optional Chutney.


***Instant or “Quick Cooking” Basmati Rice does not taste good here.

Basmati Rice: liquid to rice ratio may vary -please refer to your rice package instructions. For example, my basmati rice says 1 cup rice to 2 cups water. If yours says 1 cup rice to 1.5 cups water, please adjust veggie stock accordingly.

Brown basmati rice may require 10 more minutes of cooking time and more liquid. Check package directions for cooking time and liquid requirements- adding more liquid if need be-each rice is different.

Variations: You are welcome to add other veggies to the biryani- here I’ve added thinly sliced sweet peppers. If you want to add chicken to this, make sure to season it well and brown it first before adding to the rice mixture to simmer.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 385
  • Sugar: 10.2 g
  • Sodium: 416.2 mg
  • Fat: 6.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 73.6 g
  • Fiber: 5.5 g
  • Protein: 8.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: vegetable biryani, biryani recipe, vegetarian biryani, vegetarian biryani recipe,











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Recipe rating


  1. When making this recipe, you are going to think there are a lot of very strong spices in it. They work well together and this dish has a ton of flavor! Drizzle a little curried vegan mayonnaise on the top to change it to a comfort food.

  2. When you list chili powder, is it the standard chili powder you can find in the grocery store, or Indian chili powder?

    1. I used standard in this recipe- but I bet Indian would be delicious-not sure how spicy it is though?

  3. My husband and I loved this recipe. I did not tweak the recipe in any way. It was perfect!

  4. A wonderful dish! Make sure you keep an eye on the rice. I added extra raisins and it was delicious!

  5. Absolutely LOVED IT!!!! We are currently fasting and this was perfect dish for my family. The chutney is a must!!! Ah-mazing.

  6. This was delicious! After prepping almost all of the ingredients, I reached into the fridge for some carrots and realized we were out. I’d already prepped everything else so I ended up substituting a white sweet potato cut into sugar-cube sized dice.

    It was wonderful!

    Other than my unplanned substitution, I followed the recipe to the letter.

    I’ll definitely be adding this to my regular rotation.

    Don’t skip the chutney. It’s really brings everything together.

  7. Great recipe but only needs half of the liquids indicated. We just cooked it longer to reduce the liquidity.

    Liked the ease and quickness the recipe took to make. Added some Indian hot peppers 🌶 for some zip and the whole thing turned out great.

    Made for incredible leftovers 1-2 days later.

  8. I’ve made this twice now, without the chutney (since we don’t often buy vegan yogurt), and it’s INCREDIBLE. My husband loves it, and I’m going to be making it for his family when they come for Thanksgiving.

  9. This is a really wonderful recipe – flavoursome, fresh and quick! Thank you for posting this. It’s a regular in our menu – even my non-vegan husband loves it!

  10. I like feasting at home recipes, but this one didn’t hit the mark for me. It was pretty one note. The dish needed heat and acid. I might try again adding in some lemon, cayenne, and yogurt. Two stars for being an easy one pot meal to make on a week night. Made a huge batch great for meal prep.

    1. Sorry this didn’t work for you. The cilantro mint chutney truly adds here- did you make that?

  11. I love this! But curious in the video when adding the red pepper and carrots there is something green? Is it zucchini?

  12. Hello Sylvia: What is the reason for soaking the rice first? My biryani attempts (from different recipes) have always failed by producing heavy, wet rice. Would soaking the rice first, and then still adding the broth/water per directions, not make it even more heavy? Thank you!!

    1. So here I did this to speed up the cooking time actually -to make it more doable on weeknights. So feel free to skip it- or If you are worried about overcooked heavy rice, you could use 1/4 cup less broth, but when I last made this ( yes, it has been a while!) it turned out perfect.

  13. Hi! I normally don’t comment on recipes, but I must say that I just finished my meal and it was amazing <3. I loved the mixture of tastes with acidic chutney. Like omggggg my new fave <3

  14. This was my first attempt at trying vegan. Next time I would cut the rice down to one cup. The Cilantro/Mint Chutney was outstanding and what really made this recipe.

  15. So flavourful! I didn’t make the cilantro-mint chutney, but added fresh cilantro before serving, along with toasted cashews. The raisins added a nice hit of sweet. Family loved it!

  16. This needed a lot of help. I didn’t have ingredients for the chutney so topped with sambal oelek and tamarind chutney- then, it was very tasty, but without the sauces, it was bland. I did have less salt than the original recipe (unsalted chickpeas, 2 C of broth was unsalted) but it didn’t seem critically low-salt, and I felt it could have used so much more seasoning and spice.

    It also makes a HUGE amount. If you don’t have a very big family, half the recipe!

    I’ll be making the chutney tomorrow and am sure the dish will taste great. Very kid-friendly, because : bland. If you love Indian food, expect to help this out by adding chutneys & hot sauce!

    1. Sorry, this didn’t work for you, Amy. I do think the salt would help as well as the chutney.

  17. I really liked this biryani! I used brown basmati rice that I soaked for a few hours first, so it did not need much more cooking time compared to white rice. The spice level was perfect for me, as was the amount of vegetables. Will probably use fewer raisins less time to make it a little less sweet. Served with mango chutney. Yum!

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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